Celebrating Women in Astronomy

In honor of International Women’s Day, I am focusing today’s lessons in grade 8 science on the many contributions of women to the field of astronomy.

We start with an overview, courtesy of The Woman Astronomer, with stories of women from Hypatia of Alexandria and the “Harvard’s Computers” to Debra Fischer and Jill Tarter. Students will examine how these women have influenced our knowledge of the heavens throughout history.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific also has a nice collection of short biographies about women who have contributed to the field of space science.

Then we’ll wrap up class with a showing of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos episode titled “Sisters of the Sun,” in which we explore not only the structure of the Sun and other stars, but the stories of Annie Jump Cannon and Henrietta Swan Leavitt.

Remember, every person on Earth owes his or her life to a strong woman – Mom!

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